Small and skittish fish are hard to photograph. Breathing underwater is surprisingly loud noisy. I learned this listening to the sound track of the movies from my camera. And I am a big thing in a black dive suit. Indeed this must be intimidating to a small fish. The spot on the dorsal fin is to distract and mislead the eye into thinking the fish is headed in a different direction or larger than it is. Sometimes you sneak up and get the shot. Or else we would not be looking at this image. It helps to not blow bubbles as you sneak.
A pair! It is so unusual to see one. Here’s a pair. They look like feather dusters. And they close up as soon as you threaten them. Pink ones are quite rare to see. The unusual is usual. At least you take this image and say to yourself it’s nice. I say it is something you rarely see and appreciate that this is a special moment.
Get in close. My early pictures were less so. I got brave. So far I have not been injured. Rule: don’t touch anything. Corollary: Don’t let anything touch you. Stonefish are supposed to be poisonous and dangerous. Myth or truth? Don’t touch anything. So familiarity breeds…. and I am braver and getting closer all the time. I’m not seeing any teeth and the fish is quite docile. It just sits there and stares at me staring at it. So far so good.
I got this image under a coral ledge. I used the flash to my advantage. It reminds me of two fish conferring. I am sure that this is not the case. Fish can’t talk right?
Here’s something that I can only point out. We were able to see this behavior several times in a couple dives. This fish is carrying eggs in its mouth. I have heard male fish do this sometimes. Male or female you decide here. But it kept its mouth open and looked like it had marbles bulging its lower jaw. I was surprised too that the fish kept to its spot and did not give ground as I swam closer to get a picture.
As a general principle I dive with more experienced divers. I have reached the rank of rescue diver master diver. That would place me just below an instructor level. I don’t particularly care to lead or to watch over less experienced divers. I have had many an adventure with novices who have dived with me. A master diver hooked up with me and my assistant. I should have refused. I was going to have my eyes glued to my assistant and another diver was just too much. He was good. Off with his regulator and he posed for a picture with Nemo.
I was taking some shots of my own. A blue spotted ray presented itself for me. Not too shabby, the day was going well until the second dive. The water was a little rough and there was a current. My assistant had buoyancy issues.
Looking at his profile it is easy to see he is not completely comfortable in the water. If you cannot tell then you have not dived enough. I had already added weight to him but he had a tendency to float up. And at the end of our dive he was unable to remain down.
No big deal except for the surface waves and then there was the random up and down motion to make instant sea sickness. He threw up. Not good at any time and especially when you are underwater with a regulator in your mouth. Nasty! So here I was in the rescue mode holding the poor guy by his regulator and bringing him in to the shore. There was another diver away who watched intently as I did the rescue thing. And our companion master diver grinned at me and said, “At least we came back – three.” There is no doubt some humor here somewhere. As for me, a little more up and down and I would have been sick too. I am wondering if it was such a good idea to get rescue diver status.
I take it for granted that you can easily see the fish in this picture. So I was surprised when Farid’s kids did not see this stonefish immediately. Right there!! It so easy. His kids are 6 and 4. Kelly the younger was not able to see the fish till we pointed it out. I was interested to realize that her eye is different than what I see so easily. I use the eye as my point of photographic focus.
From a different perspective, I guess I realize that stone fish are not easy to see in the wild. I easily do not see them because the blend to well with the coral background. Sometimes it’s nice to realize a different viewpoint.
They are bright orange and in abundance on the reef here. They are hard to photograph. They never stay still long enough and are not large enough to really focus upon. So I just let the autofocus get lucky. Background is helpful to make them more appealing.
The stuff to the left is fire coral. It is not red and not particularly dangerous looking. Do not touch it! I brushed against it once upon a time when I was inexperienced. Repeat! Do not touch. In fact do not touch anything. I had blisters form instantly where I touched this coral. Impressive! Oh yeah! And in two minutes before I left the water, the blisters were gone. Impressive too! But the rash and the itch at the site left me miserable for weeks afterward. Yup! Do not touch.
You might think it’s easy. But, it is not easy to find the same spot every time you dive. There are some landmarks. But largely I do not find the same things twice in a row. In this instance I found the same giant clam two days in a row. And while editing my images I was still struck by its beauty and color. At least I am consistent. If you would ask me to return it would be an even bet that I will not remember the location and will not find it again. Yes, this is not the same clam. Close but no cigar.
Lately there has been a group of barracuda swimming around the reef. They showed up. They seem to have gone. Meanwhile I was under the impression that they are dangerous. They swim away from me as fast as I approach them. The book calls them “Great.” They certainly do not appear threatening. I follow the rule – do not touch the wildlife.
Another tip I was told is that single fish are hunting and a school or group are not. You looking at singles here…